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Thursday, December 3, 2009

How do you measure a year in the life?

525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear.
525,600 minutes: How do you measure,
measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life?
How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love.
Seasons of love.

~ From "Seasons of Love", RENT


Like other parts of my life, the Grove now brings me full circle. Just as I say that when I am in San Francisco I am alive, the same holds true for the Grove.

What the Grove embodies is that inexplicable but unmistakable reason why I live in San Francisco. When I am in the Grove I am alive.

I know the City has flaws and challenges and its own problems, but this City has more of one thing than any other city I have ever been to – heroes.

~ Mike Shriver


Something has been accelerating lately... a cosmic push that's led me to some eye-opening and life-changing meetings. I can't describe it exactly but some of the people that have been meeting me, many of whom will appear soon on i live here:SF are filling me with appreciation and awe.

There's been a concentration of happenings — I don't know what else to call them exactly — of people who have entered my life and awareness, almost en masse. These meetings bring into question my supposed belief that there are no coincidences, that we place too much importance on things happening for a reason. That we ascribe importance to random events that really are only random events, but our need to believe in a universal something makes us yearn for a design, a plan.


Only a couple of weeks ago did I meet Mike. Perhaps it's the new camera, but when I have it around my neck, people come over and talk to me. It's like part of my uniform now.

So I'm in Dolores Park, on my way to meet someone I've never met for a photo shoot, as is my way. ;-) This slight man, wielding a larger camera than mine makes eye contact and asks me if I've ever seen the red-tailed hawk that lives in the park. I haven't. Then we get to talking: about birds, camera, being obssessed with photography, and one things leads to another and then it's like I've known Mike forever.

I have no idea how the subject of the National AIDS Memorial Grove comes up. But then it turns out that we have a mutual friend, a wonderful man named Jack Porter who helped found the Grove. So we had even more in common.

December 1 was World AIDS Day. Mike texted me to see if I could help him cover the day's events and help him take photos of the celebration, awards and speakers. Of course, I got there as soon as I could. I have photos to share that I'll be uploading soon. What I will try to relate as well is the feeling of incredible love and hope that exists today for those on the forefront of fighting AIDS and discrimination for HIV+ people. What I learned about this disease, now in the 25th year since its discovery, shook me deeply and also made my eyes fill with tears of compassion for the people who live with this illness on some level daily.

For those of us who think our lives are not affected by AIDS and never will be, it's just not true. I asked Mike to share his special SF story with us and it is a beautiful story. I hope you'll read it.


RNSANE December 2, 2009 at 11:24 PM  

As a nurse for nearly forty years who moved to San Francisco in 1976, I have been deeply affected by AIDS. I've lost many of my colleagues and co-workers to the disease and, also, many patients. At least, it has been good to live in this city where HIV services are excellent and readily available. We are surrounded by health care providers, experts in the field, who journey to Africa and other nations, to help treat this epidemic in those countries where populations are decimated by this disease.

Ed December 3, 2009 at 8:45 AM  

Great post. I definitely know what you are saying about happenings.

Marilyn Miller December 3, 2009 at 6:21 PM  

Thanks for sharing Mike's story and The Grove.

AphotoAday December 4, 2009 at 7:40 AM  

Occasionally I need to be reminded that AIDS is still with us, so I thank you Julie -- it was a pleasure meeting Mike here and on I Live Here, SF.   I wish Mike all the best -- he is a true survivor.

Just one little technical note -- I don't think you gave the exact location of the Memorial Grove, and when you mentioned the redwood trees I wondered if it was located at that spot within the Botanical Gardens.

I Googled the Grove, but even the AidsMemorial.org site didn't give a specific location. So after searching through a few more sites I finally found the location -- it's Bowling Green Drive and Middle Drive E.   I plan to stop by soon.

kath December 4, 2009 at 10:09 AM  

"happenings" I like that. You sound so happy and for that I am glad.

Just Jules December 5, 2009 at 9:18 AM  

ahhhh your tone has changed and it makes me feel good. I have been blog skimming for so long it seems ( a few month, while I try to catch up on life) and now that I sit and read and 'listen' I hear it - you are different.

beth December 5, 2009 at 11:09 AM  

what a great post in so many ways...

first the song.....swoon !
the story of how life is just amazing....
meeting someone who "fits"....
and having a mutual friend in common....

life is really good sometimes, isn't it ?

beth December 5, 2009 at 11:11 AM  

oops...and did I miss what your new camera is somewhere....

I'd love to know !

Siobhan December 5, 2009 at 2:20 PM  

Oh my goodness that is a GORGEOUS photo!

Anonymous December 6, 2009 at 1:07 PM  

Lucky to u........................................

Anonymous December 8, 2009 at 9:37 AM  

I'm looking forward to seeing those pictures of Dec 1 tangobaby. i'm happy you are so involved in that program. its wonderful. enjoy your cosmic push.

Mary-Laure December 8, 2009 at 6:57 PM  

Ah, you Bay Area people! Always in love with your beautiful city!

BTW, don't miss the luxurious giveaway on my blog...